I have been wanting to create a blog for Scarlet Studio for years! I think the time is right and I am ready to share 'Scarlet Letters' with my students, colleagues and the general public, if they are willing to read them.
I struggled for a long time with this decision. Fear and self-doubt have been major players in my inability to do many things in my life, which is odd because so many of my friends and family see me as brave and fearless. Regardless, fear and self-doubt have been whispering: "Who do you think you are?" and "No one will see you as an authority on anything!" for years now. And for years, I listened.
Recently, a student reached out to request a Private Pole lesson with Scarlet. I was not receptive to the request. I felt that a Private Pole lesson for a brand new student is useless. A Private lesson should have a goal in mind beyond learning the fundamentals. I felt that Scarlet's Pole classes are already small and intimate and that our structure allows for instructors to give one-on-one attention during a class. Then a close friend (my mother) reminded me that fear is paralyzing for many people, especially when it comes to joining a fitness class like Pole. I realized that I was being short-sighted and indifferent towards the feelings of this student.
The thought that they may be terrified of joining a weekly pole class did not register with me as a 'reasonable thought process'. What on earth could they be so scared of? Why can't they just join a class like the rest of my students? My thought process was based on my lack of fear in this particular arena. I was not taking into consideration the students fear and self-doubt because to me it's not scary!
I realized that in my short-sightedness I was failing not only myself but my studio and my students. I scheduled a meeting with my instructors to address this issue and we collectively decided that offering Private Lessons is something we should do. We came up with a plan, a schedule and a pay structure that works for Scarlet and we now offer Private Pole lessons.
Fear and self-doubt may never be completely abolished for any of us. Trying new things will always be scary and un-nerving. I applaud the person who can look fear in the face and laugh. I wish I was braver in certain areas of my life. I wish I had more confidence too. Where I am lacking my friends and family help me through and I want to offer that same helping hand to the brave souls who walk through my studio doors, because it is scary and it is difficult and challenging.
Here are a few things new pole students should be aware of that may help ease fear and uncertainty when joining a Pole Class at Scarlet Studio:
We know. Your instructor knows that you are nervous. They know that you are unsure of what to expect of the class. They know that you are doubting your abilities. They know that because you are nervous you are going to sweat more than usual, you're going to overthink the simplest of instructions and, you're going to compare yourself to your peers and your instructor. It's okay. Know that we know and that we will be kind to you.
It takes time. Changing neurological pathways in our brains take time, and so does learning an art like pole. At the risk of sounding cliche, Pole is a personal journey. It doesn't happen in a vacuum. It doesn't happen overnight. It happens slowly, carefully, thoughtfully. You didn't learn to read and write by only taking a class in grade school, no sir! You learned to read and write by watching tv, listening to adults speak, repetition of sounds and shapes, and most importantly, trial and error. Think of Pole Dance like learning a new language, it is going to take time.
Be kind to yourself. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, expects a brand new student to bust out a Full Chopper or a Gemini in their first pole class! Let's be honest, we don't even expect students to have the ability to do those tricks within the first 6 months of learning Pole! I say this loud and I say this often: "Do not compare your chapter 1 to someone else's chapter 10; you are being unkind to yourself in doing so." This idea can also be applied to those who have been poling for a long time. I have been poling since I was 21, I'm 46 now. Sure, I have my strengths but I also have my weaknesses. I watch these young girls from the Ukraine gracefully fall into splits or seamlessly transition from trick to trick on a spin pole like it's nothing. Meanwhile, if I spend more than 30 seconds on a spin pole I get so nauseous! I have been struggling with spilts my entire life. I'm still working on them! The point is, your pole journey is yours and yours alone. While it is good and healthy to have 'pole goals' for yourself, it is also important to be kind to yourself while trying to reach those goals.
Some people overcome fear by jumping in the deep end without looking. Some people need to research and obsess over an idea before gently dipping a toe into the shallow end of the pool. Neither way is wrong. If you feel that a few Private Lessons will help ease your fears of joining a weekly class then do it. Part of Scarlet Studio's mission statement is this: "To teach students proper foundations and techniques so that they can safely and successfully learn how to Pole Dance." If success means incorporating some Private Lessons into the Pole Journey, then so be it! Whatever it takes to beat fear and self-doubt into submission!